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Types Of Food Grown In Jamaica
Contributed by Tavoy Julal
Many have come to know (and adore) Jamaica for our reggae music, our sporting legends, pristine white sand beaches and amazing sunsets!
But listen, aside from all that, you'd also agree that we are well known for a lot more, not least is our the delectable foods, from what we grow to what we create in the kitchen.
And yes, it does give us a sense of pride knowing that people will travel across the globe, just to get a sample of what we have to offer. Beautiful tropical island, breathtaking views, stunning sunsets - and good food!
So today I will be sharing with you 10 of our most popular crops grown in Jamaica
The Ackee is the national fruit of our country and probably for good reason.
It is definitely one of the most eaten foods here. Ackee, which was brought over from West Africa in 1778, is now not only popular in Jamaica but the wider Caribbean and the Jamaican diaspora. Read more on Jamaican ackee here.
- Scotch Bonnet Pepper
Also known as the Caribbean red pepper, it is a variety of chili pepper, normally bright yellow when ripe.
It can host an array of other colors like peach, bright orange or even chocolate brown.
It is used in a lot of our famous cuisines and you might even recognize it in the fiery taste of our jerk chicken/pork.
Speaking of famous cuisines, the yam has been around and for years, recently garnering more popularity because of its suggested association with now legend Usain Bolt's strength, speed and stamina.
The yam as we Jamaicans know it, is a very versatile plant, it can be fried, roasted and boiled, which is great for any occasion. We typically have roasted yam with our jerk chicken/pork.
Picture showing Jamaican Roasted Yam
Plantain is from the Genus Musa family which is indigenous to southern Asia. Growing up, green and ripe plantains were a integral part of our Jamaican breakfast.
We would debate which tasted better, but both are equally tasty. Read more on Jamaican plantain.
The banana which is of close relation to the plantain is believed to have gotten its name from Africa by a tribe in the African Congo.
The Banana, much like the plantain, was first discovered in southern Asia and is believed to have hitched a ride with explorer Christopher Columbus, though some believe it was already here.
However, the banana has been a constant in most of our meals. And more and more, additional products and bi products are developed. One of the most popular is Jamaican banana chips. Chippies and St. Mary's are two of the top brands here today.
- Red peas
Oh, dear lord, what would Jamaica be without our famous and beloved red peas?
Brought over by our ancestors in the 1700’s, red peas is a must have for every Jamaican household.
Most famous for our 'red peas soup' or beef stew.
Red peas is also used to make our famous 'rice and peas' dish, and yes, it’s true, we hold that combo near to our hearts, a tradition that will continue for ages of generations. See Jamaican rice and peas.
- Otaheite Apple
Syzygium malaccense, is the scientific term for this beautiful fruit, although us Jamaicans would rather call it, apple.
First introduced in 1793 by Captain Bligh who brought it over from Tahiti, this fruit is much loved in Jamaica.
The Otaheite is sweet and extremely refreshing because of its high water content which balances the sweetness. Read more on Jamaican apple here.
This famous drink has been around for years! It is made and consumed more during the Christmas period.
The drink is made normally by steeping the blossoms in hot or cold water, then later stirred up with aromatic spices like ginger and cloves, and later a bit of syrup for sweetness - and some Jamaican rum for fun. Read more on Jamaican Sorrel here.
- Blue Mountain Coffee
Famous for its sweet taste and lack of bitterness, Jamaica's Blue Mountain Coffee remains one of the finest coffees in the world!
The production of coffee begun back in the 18th century, nearly a decade after it was introduced by Nicholas Lawes.
The relocation to the blue mountain proved to be one the greatest decision ever. This was because of the cool, misty climate at the top. Read more on Blue Mountain Coffee.
Good or bad, the sugarcane can be associated with almost every aspect of Jamaican history since the Europeans landed here. The plant is most notable for its first product, sugar, but it also the source of one of Jamaica’s most famous exports, Rum.
What's your take? Did I missed a key one? I welcome your comment here
See also: Pictures of Jamaican Food
and the best Jamaican foods
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